Baton Rouge is the capital of the State of Louisiana in the United States. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is about 130 river miles upriver (122 kilometers or 76 miles northwest) from New Orleans. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is also about 280 kilometers (174 miles) east-northeast of Beaumont, Texas, which is part of the Mississippi River Delta System. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is part of the Mississippi River System.
The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is located at the upper end of the Mississippi River's deep-water navigation. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is an important industrial center, being located near major oil fields in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Offering inexpensive river and ocean transport, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is a distribution center for agricultural products from the surrounding region. The 2010 US Census reported over 802 thousand people living in the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the area that would become the Port of Greater Baton Rouge has been inhabited for roughly ten thousand years. Three mounds created by the indigenous people of the region are located within the city's boundaries.
In the late 1400s and early 1500s, the Creek Nation had many settlements in the area that were engaged in tribal wars. When explorer Sieur d'Iberville and his party explored the Mississippi in 1699, they found a cypress pole adorned with bloody animals. The pole marked the border between the hunting grounds of the Houma and Bayougoula tribes. The Europeans called the pole and the area around it "le baton rouge" (the red stick).
Over time, the "red stick" came to describe the more aggressive indigenous settlements of the Creek Nation. The red stick villages were unfriendly to European settlers who invaded their hunting grounds. On the other hand, aggression was not permitted in "white stick" settlements.
Since Europeans arrived in the region, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge has belonged to France, Great Britain, Spain, Louisiana, the Republic of Florida, the US Confederacy, and the United States. When the British removed the Acadians from the maritime provinces of Canada in 1755, many of the French-speaking Acadians settled in Louisiana. Known today as Cajuns, these descendants of Acadians have a unique culture that enhances area around the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.
The Port of Greater Baton Rouge was incorporated in 1817 and became the State capital in 1849. During that time, trade and transportation aboard steamboats ensured that the Port of Greater Baton Rouge grew at an even pace.
When the American Civil War began, about 5500 people lived in the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. The war brought economic progress to a quick halt. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge was occupied by Union forces in early 1862, forcing the Confederacy to move the state capital to Shreveport. The Confederates attempted to retake the Port of Greater Baton Rouge in the summer of 1862 but were not successful.
After the Civil War ended, New Orleans was the capital of the state government imposed by Reconstruction. When Democrats returned to power in 1882, the state government was re-established in the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.
In the mid-20th Century, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge's petrochemical industry expanded rapidly, as did the city. For many decades, growth and economic development was focused on the outlying suburban areas of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. In the 1990s, however, business and government started moving back into the central city.
The 1990s boom of building continues into the 21st Century, and high-budget projects designed to improve the quality of live in the Port of Greater Baton Rouge are underway across the city. In the early 21st Century, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is one of the South's fastest-growing cities. In 2005, some 200 thousand displaced people fled Hurricane Katrina, coming to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. In 2000, the city's population was almost 603 thousand. By 2010, over 802 thousand people lived there. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber estimates that the metropolitan area could be home to as many as 900 thousand people by 2013.
In 2010, Portfolio Magazine recognized the Port of Greater Baton Rouge as one of the best places in the United States for young adults to live. Brookings included it among the top 20 cities in the country for economic stability. In 2009, CNN ranked the Port of Greater Baton Rouge the 9th best place in the United States to start a new business.
As the furthest inland Mississippi River port that can handle ocean-going cargo carriers and tankers, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge facilities the movement of cargo from ship to barge, rail, pipeline, and road to be delivered throughout the United States' central regions.
The biggest industry in the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is petrochemical manufacturing and production. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is home to the second biggest oil refinery, owned by ExxonMobil, in the United States. One of the biggest employers in the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is state government.
With research hospitals, universities, and nursing schools, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is an emerging medical center. The movie industry is growing in the Port of Greater Baton Rouge as well, and tax benefits have attracted movie studios and post-production facilities to the area.
Before the 1920s, port facilities in the Port of Greater Baton Rouge were little more than wooden wharves dotting the edge of the Mississippi River. Simple mooring was possible. Private docking facilities upriver of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge were operated Standard Oil Refinery (now owned by ExxonMobil), making up the majority of the city's waterborne commerce.
In the 1920s, the need for public docking facilities for smaller shippers and port users became apparent. The Baton Rouge Municipal Dock started operating in 1962. In 1952, the State Legislature created the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission. Work began on General Cargo Dock No. 1, the grain dock, and the grain elevator in 1954.
Today, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is one of the Nation's top ports for total tonnage handled. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge handles a wide variety of products that include agricultural products, forest products, coal and ores, steel and pipe, chemicals, and petroleum products.